The Air Force launched 29 satellites into orbit from a NASA facility in Virginia on Tuesday evening, and one of them is the first to be
built entirely by high school students, CNN reports.
Students from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology in Alexandria, Va. built the TJ3Sat, a small “nanosatellite” weighing approximately 3 pounds and measuring about four inches on each side.
It took them seven years to build.
“It used to be that kids growing up wanted to be an astronaut,” Andrew Petro, program executive for small spacecraft technology at NASA, said in a statement to Space.com. “I think we might be seeing kids saying, what they want to do is build a spacecraft. The idea here is that they really can do that.”
Once in orbit, the “TJ3Sat will allow students and amateur radio users the opportunity to send and receive data from the satellite. Students and other users from around the world will be able to submit text strings to be uploaded to the TJ3Sat website,” according to Orbital Sciences Corp, the developer and manufacturer of the Minotaur rocket.
The main payload being delivered by the Minotaur I rocket is the Air Force’s Space Test Program Satellite-3, according to CNN. The high-schoolers satellite is among 28 other smaller ones called CubeSats.
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